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The Heart & Diving

The Heart & Diving

Metabolic Syndrome


Metabolic syndrome is a disorder that affects how the body uses and stores energy. According to the American Heart Association, a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome requires the presence of three or more of these conditions:
  1. Abdominal obesity — defined as a waist circumference of 40 inches (102 centimeters) or above for men and 35 inches (89 centimeters) or above for women).

  2. A triglyceride level equal to or greater than 150 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L).

  3. An HDL cholesterol level below 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L) for men and below 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) for women.

  4. A blood pressure equal to or greater than 130/85 mmHg or the use of medication for hypertension.

  5. A fasting blood glucose level equal to or greater than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) or the use of medication for hyperglycemia.

Metabolic syndrome is associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease. Other disorders associated with metabolic syndrome include endothelial dysfunction and chronic low-grade inflammation.

Measuring the circumference of your waist to detect abdominal obesity, meaning more fat is at your waist than at your hips, is a good start in assessing whether you may have metabolic syndrome. This is important because abdominal obesity represents a higher risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and the risk increases progressively as waist size increases beyond the dimensions noted above. The implications of these factors are shown in the chart below.


Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
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